Fancy seeded soda bread

Version 2This is a quick and easy bread. There is no kneading or proofing (rising) time involved – just measuring and gently stirring the ingredients together. With baking time, it takes an hour and a quarter (depending how fast you are in measuring!). Even the implements are straightforward: three bowls, a whisk, a measuring spoon and a stirring spoon. Continue reading

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Berlin Book Fix – No.6: Goldhahn & Sampson

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Where to find books in English in Berlin?

No.6 – Goldhahn & Sampson in Prenzlauer Berg. The cook book lover’s treasure chest.

Goldhahn & Sampson caters for the mind as well as the palate. They sell food, wine and delicatessen – local specialities from around Berlin and elsewhere. A contradiction? Not at all: speciality food is generally rooted in a certain locality. That’s what makes it special and different from the foods from other localities, and of course from the mass-produced products that have the same taste (or lack thereof) everywhere. Continue reading

Weekday Scones

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I put chocolate and some orange marmalade into this one… oh yeah.

I like something sweet with my 11 o’clock coffee at the office, but the coffee shop at the corner offers mostly cakes, or overly sweet or heavy pastries. And I couldn’t really afford to keep up a daily cake habit, not for my waistline nor for my wallet!
Luckily, there are scones. Deliciously crumbly and not too sweet, they are perfect as a mid-morning snack. I make a batch once or twice a week most weeks. Now, I know, can’t nobody be dealing with complicated recipes and mountains of washing up twice weekly in the evening after work and commuting and possibly even a stab at a social life. But the recipe I am sharing today is not called “Weekday Scones” for nothing. It takes about 45 minutes from the moment you pull out your mixing bowl until you’re done, washing-up included. Ooohhh…magic. Continue reading

I’m jamming… An essay on marmalade

A few Sundays ago, I made my first jam. Orange marmalade to be precise, from untreatedP1070506 Sicilian blood oranges. It took me a few hours, and I had to wash the kitchen floor and myself afterwards because everything got a bit sticky, but I did it. That evening I was sitting on my couch just looking at those glorious five jam jars with their orange-red filling. Proud as if I’d laid an egg.
Since then, I’ve made my own apple sauce and taralli (sort of pretzels), and there’s a box of orange peel in my freezer waiting to be candied. I am a bit surprised myself by my recent domestic adventures. But there is a reason behind all this. What inspired me to the jam-making…well, actually, that’s the point. I was not inspired, I was pushed. By 10kg of beautiful Sicilian oranges sitting in my hallway. My colleague’s brother has an orchard somewhere at the south-eastern corner of Sicily, and she organised a delivery of oranges up to Piemonte, for a good price, but you had to take 10kg minimum. What are you going to do with so many oranges? Marmalade, that’s what. Because you don’t want a single one of them go to waste… Continue reading

Homemade Baked Beans – A hug in a jar

IMG_1643_NEUMmmmh… beans… hero of weekend breakfasts, lively companion of the humble baked potato, saviour of hungry evenings when you have not managed to buy food for a proper dinner and come home from the office absolutely starving…

Those are not the days however when you should be making homemade baked beans, because that takes about 14 hours, all told. Why then should you go through the trouble at all? Easy, my friend: flavour. Imagine the goodness of soft warm beans in a fruity-fresh sauce with a little sparkle of spices, not too sweet, not too salty, just as you like it. Continue reading

Rainy Day Breakfast #1

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I don’t usually eat cooked breakfast. But a rainy Sunday afternoon breakfast after a night of dancing to bass-heavy music at Subland, getting soaked to the skin cycling home at 8am, is not a usual breakfast and calls for something extra-tasty. Like pancakes.
I tried this recipe today: Joy the Baker‘s The Single Lady’s Pancake. ONE pancake, not a dozen, so need for pre-breakfast measurement calculations. Thank you, Joy. I feel understood.

Rainy Day Pancake adapted from this recipe
Just one for yourself

You need:
Flour – 4 Tablespoons or 45g
Oats – 1 Tablespoon, if you like them, or another spoonful of flour
Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Baking soda – 1/4 teaspoon
Salt – a pinch
Sugar or honey – 2 teaspoons
Oil or melted butter – 1 Tablespoon and a little more for the pan
Milk or buttermilk – 4 Tablespoons (if you use regular milk it’s a good idea to replace about a teaspoon of it with some yoghurt, the acidity of the yoghurt will help to set off the leavening process with the baking soda)

Toppings to taste. I used fresh berries, smoked ham and maple syrup.

What to do:
Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk the moist ingredients together (remember honey is moist but sugar is dry). By hand is fine.
Put a frying pan on medium heat with a little oil or butter (note: if you like bacon or ham with your pancakes, it’s nice to fry them in the same pan first, leaving the tasty bacon fat in for cooking your pancake).
While the pan is warming up, stir the dry ingredients into the moist ingredients. The batter will not be very liquid. Pour the batter into the frying pan, spread out and cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides, flipping over once. I did that with the help of a spatula. No free-flying pancake gymnastics for me before breakfast. Put it on a plate with your favorite toppings.
That’s it! Tasty breakfast in about 15 minutes. A revelation.